Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Empire Stadium, Wembley, London
Date Started: August 7, 1948
Date Finished: August 7, 1948
Format: Wind = 0.2 m/s.
After [Fanny Blankers-Koen]'s three gold medals earlier in the Olympics, the Dutch team was naturally among the favorites for the relay title, especially since they already had a good performance record. Three of the team's four runners had won the European title in 1946, and the same trio had already set a World Record in the 4×200 metres. Set during German occupation, the record had been a minor act of resistance, running in Dutch outfits and taking the record from the Germans. Briefly before London, the Dutch squad also broke the world record in the 4×110 yards relay.
But shortly before the start of the heats, the Dutch team panicked: they were missing their anchor runner. Fanny Blankers-Koen had gone shopping and only returned just in time with a brand new raincoat. In spite of this scare, they set the fastest time and qualified for the next round. The field was close up until the third exchange, with only Australia leading clearly. But Blankers-Koen caught up with Australian anchor [Joyce King] in time to cross the line first.
Upon return to Amsterdam, Blankers-Koen (and the rest of the Dutch team), was received by a large crowd. She received praise and and gifts from various people. Her neighbors had decided to buy her a new bicycle, so "she could stop running" and "go through life at a slower pace". But she did not take the advice to heart, continuing to compete thru the 1952 Olympics.